Futuristic Nano Fabric May Eliminate the Need to Do Laundry, But at What Cost to Human and Environmental Health?

22nd July 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Standard methods of laundering clothing are rife with environmental problems, such as excessive water and electricity usage, as well as significant pollution. So when researchers develop innovative new fabrics that resist stains and soil — or do away with the need to launder altogether — it really does seem as if technology can rescue us from many of the ecological problems we face today. And yet, there’s usually a hidden drawback for every technological leap. In the case of futuristic and self-cleaning fabrics, a range of health and environmental consequences come into play.

The problem with modern laundry practices

Even with notable advancements in clothes washers and dryers, there’s still much to be desired in terms of wastefulness. A new, high-efficiency washer uses about 12 gallons of water per load and 25% less electricity than standard models. Older top-loading machines can require up to 45 gallons of water, whereas newer models use around 27 gallons. About 90% of total energy usage for any kind of washer is due to heating the water. However, the biggest energy drain comes not from a washing machine, but the dryer.

Continue Reading – Futuristic Nano Fabric May Eliminate the Need to Do Laundry, But at What Cost to Human and Environmental Health?

Jackfruit: Can This Nutritional Powerhouse Prevent Widespread Famine?

3rd July 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Unlike the United States — where self-sufficiency and food security is persecuted — the government of Venezuela is pushing its population to grow urban gardens and raise chickens in response to severe food shortages. Venezuelan president Maduro himself produces everything his family eats with the help of 60 laying hens. While not considered a famine yet, the shortages are acute enough that malnutrition is a serious concern, especially in the case of children.

Venezuela is a prime location for both traditional and micro-farming due to broad areas of fertile land and appropriate growing climate. Even so, food shortages are still an increasingly unpleasant reality since the sheer quantity of edibles needed to feed the population outstrips the supply. Not to mention rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall are already impacting global food production, as warned by the World Bank and United Nations. In the near future, lack of food security will be a very real threat for a great many countries. What’s happening in Venezuela is only the beginning.

Continue Reading – Jackfruit: Can This Nutritional Powerhouse Prevent Widespread Famine?

Honeybees Pick Up an Alarming Number of Pesticides from Non-Crop Plants, Purdue Researchers Find

1st July 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Honeybees have had a hard time over the last several decades — colony collapse disorder, habitat destruction and exposure to increasing levels of chemicals in the environment. Approximately 40% of bee colonies in the U.S. perished last year, and the numbers are climbing.

Dr. Dennis van Engelsdorp, an entomologist from the University of Maryland, believes there are three factors influencing the decline in honeybees: The varroa mite, poor nutrition and pesticides. Researchers are especially concerned about the latest findings from Purdue University, which found honeybees pick up an ‘astonishing’ level of pesticides during their rounds — much higher than previously thought.

Continue Reading – Honeybees Pick Up an Alarming Number of Pesticides from Non-Crop Plants, Purdue Researchers Find

If You Care About Animals and the Earth, Here’s Why You Need to Boycott Palm Oil Immediately

25th June 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Found in an astounding array of foods — like baked goods, cookies, chocolate, potato chips and milk — palm oil is in half of the packaged foods that line our supermarket shelves today. It’s also heavily used in cosmetics and toiletries, to increase the feeling of creaminess in products ranging from soap to shampoo, detergents and toothpaste. The oil is used increasingly for biofuel as well. Add to this a high demand in Myanmar and Indonesia as a replacement for coconut and peanut oil, and palm oil tops the list as the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, surpassing even soy.

What most people don’t realize is how damaging the crop is to rain forests, animals and the environment. It’s one of the most destructive crops in the world — and the situation is only becoming worse…

Continue Reading – If You Care About Animals and the Earth, Here’s Why You Need to Boycott Palm Oil Immediately

How a “No-Till” Method Can Grow Vegetable and Fruit Gardens Without Irrigation, Fertilizer or Grueling Labor

17th June 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Food self-sufficiency is a hot topic in the U.S. and beyond as our industrial agricultural system begins to crumble, poisonous conventional farming methods are brought to light and the crisis of our depleted topsoil looms ominously. In response to these threats, homesteading and community gardens are on the rise across the nation as people take control of both the quality and cost of their food. It’s a modern spin on the classic Victory Gardens of the past.

And yet, for anyone who has tilled, weeded and prepared their little patch of vegetable paradise, one aspect quickly becomes clear: growing your own food is work. Of the back-breaking kind. Truth be told, there’s quite a bit of maintenance involved once your green darlings begin to grow — insect and weed control, fertilizing to encourage healthy plants. I’ve also found that, unless you begin your plants from seed, growing your own food can be an expensive venture.

But what if we had a system in place that mimicked nature to such a degree that irrigation, fertilizer, farming equipment and hard labor were rendered obsolete? Where we could enjoy the most nutrient dense, succulent and flavorful produce for pennies on the dollar with minimal effort? This vision isn’t a pipe dream — it’s here now and simple to learn.

Continue Reading – How a “No-Till” Method Can Grow Vegetable and Fruit Gardens Without Irrigation, Fertilizer or Grueling Labor

Will Mushroom-Based Materials Replace Plastic With an Eco-Friendly Twist?

14th June 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

As we well know, plastic is a serious issue throughout the world today. It takes hundreds — sometimes thousands — of years to biodegrade, releases toxic materials into the environment and harms marine wildlife. The problem is so dire that scientists believe plastic waste in the ocean will outnumber fish by 2050. We are literally unloading a dump truck full of plastic into the sea every minute. Not only does this toxic waste hurt wildlife and the environment, but it also makes its way into the food chain — and ends up on our dinner plates. Chemicals in plastics are linked with a spectrum of human health disorders, spanning from endocrine imbalances to cancer and heart disease.

Recycling the material is sketchy at best and even corn-based biodegradable plastics come with their own set of drawbacks. But it’s naive to think the material will disappear all together. What we need is an eco-friendly solution that will serve the purpose of plastic without consuming an inordinate amount of resources or displace the food supply. The answer might just be found in the most incredible of places: fungus roots.

Continue Reading – Will Mushroom-Based Materials Replace Plastic With an Eco-Friendly Twist?

A Beginner’s Guide to Regrowing Fruits and Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps

4th June 2016

By Jenny Tabada

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Can food scraps be grown again? Turns out, the vegetables and fruits you’ve picked from the grocery stores or harvested from your own backyard can be given another take on life, and another. All you need is the right ideas on how to regrow these assumed ‘food wastes’ on your own, from cuttings you’d normally throw out as kitchen scraps.

And the best part is: re-growing fruits or vegetables from kitchen scraps is plain easy. You can even do it indoors or in your potting and garden sheds. And a few composting tricks will also help you make growing easier.

Continue Reading – A Beginner’s Guide to Regrowing Fruits and Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps

Tree Bombs: How Old Warplanes Can Plant Up to 900,000 Trees a Day

29th May 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Imagine old military planes used to revitalize barren areas of the earth, instead of causing death and destruction to the environment and wildlife. This reality may be closer than you think. Former RAF pilot, Jack Walters of Shropshire, England, believes C-130 transport aircraft — originally used for carpeting landmines across combat zones — could easily be refitted to deliver something exceptionally beneficial and peaceful: tree bombs.

Peter Simmons, of Lockheed Martin aeronautical corporation, thinks the idea is very doable: “The possibilities are amazing. We can fly at 1,000ft at 130 knots planting more than 3,000 cones a minute in a pattern across the landscape – just as we did with landmines, but in this case each cone contains a sapling. That’s 125,000 trees for each sortie and 900,000 trees in a day.”

Continue Reading – Tree Bombs: How Old Warplanes Can Plant Up to 900,000 Trees a Day

The Most Eco-Friendly Nation on the Planet is Now Carbon Negative

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“If the Government cannot create happiness for its people, there is no purpose for the Government to exist.” ~Legal code of Bhutan, 1729

Lodged between two of the most populated countries on earth — India and China — Bhutan may be small at 700,000 souls, but it has a mighty role to play in showing the world how to preserve the environment, while also cultivating happiness in its human population. In fact, the Bhutanese believe that nature and happiness go hand in hand, that it’s impossible to have one without the other.

“Preserve our natural rich heritage do not pollute the surroundings. Remember nature is the source of all happiness.” ~ Drukgyel HSS

Continue Reading – The Most Eco-Friendly Nation on the Planet is Now Carbon Negative

Why Education Must Come Back to Nature

By Will Stanton

Guest writer for Wake Up World

“Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.” – David Suzuki

Humanity has lost its connection with the Earth. As a species, we too easily distance ourselves from the war being waged on the environment. Most of us are opposed to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the oil pollution in our oceans, yet we continue to let it all happen. We care, but we don’t care enough to put a stop to all the madness. Why? Because we have lost touch with nature. Sadly, we do not feel the planet’s hurt. Her cries of protest are falling on deaf ears. For the most part, we have become anaesthetised by modern society and the trappings of economic pragmatism.

Continue Reading – Why Education Must Come Back to Nature

Don’t Ask, Just Plant — Taking Back Our Food Sovereignty with Guerrilla Gardening

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

During both world wars, Victory Gardens were a staple throughout the United States, found everywhere from private residences to public lands and even the front lawns of city hall. Their purpose was simple: to reduce pressure from the public food supply during times of war. Victory Gardens also carried an unexpected perk, they helped boost morale during uncertain times by empowering gardeners through their contribution of labor and production of sorely needed fresh fruits and vegetables. Incredibly, these seemingly humble vegetable patches produced a staggering 41% of all fruits and vegetables consumed by the nation.

Jump to the present day and our system of food production would be all but unrecognizable to Victory Garden veterans. Instead of food self-sufficiency, we have homeowners persecuted for growing produce on their own property and children who think food comes packaged from the supermarket. Small farms are going bankrupt and being assimilated into industrial corporate farming operations. And when individuals push back against the hijacking of our food supply, they are met with fierce opposition, often stemming from local government.

Continue Reading – Don’t Ask, Just Plant — Taking Back Our Food Sovereignty with Guerrilla Gardening

Genetically Modified Crops: The Trouble Is In The Soil

By Vanessa Caldarelli

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

One of the most detrimental issues about GM agriculture is the effect it has on our environment, specifically our soil and water. The findings regarding GM in the media, science, and FDA reports are almost solely focused on the ways in which GM affects human health. Whether what causes this negligence is because of deeply ingrained anthropocentrism in our society, or genuine ignorance of the institutions that inform us, the fact is that GM agriculture has extremely damaging affects on the health of this earth.

First, it is important to discuss the arguments for and against GM food production. The field is split in two: one side being the supporters of GM agriculture, the other being the adversaries. Each side has arguments to support their positions backed by scientific data and valid documentation. Continue Reading – Genetically Modified Crops: The Trouble Is In The Soil